Messy Storm Brings Ice, Snow, Sleet and Rain to Northeast

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A messy winter storm hitting the East Coast is bringing more snow along with ice, sleet and rain to the region early Tuesday morning.

From Virginia to Maryland, about one-to-three inches of snow has already fallen.

Snow is expected to start in Boston late Tuesday morning with sleet possibly changing to freezing rain.  The area is currently under a winter weather advisory.

Washington, D.C. is also under a winter weather advisory with a few tenths of an inch of ice possible by mid-morning.

In New York City, a total of one-to-two inches of snow is expected before precipitation transitions over to sleet then rain by late morning.

Last week, the northeast endured a "weather bomb," which occurs when air pressure drops from a fast moving storm and the jet stream brings moisture, causing heavy snow and winds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Reportedly Smiles at Her Husband

Photo Courtesy - DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords smiles at her husband and has even given him back rubs, her doctors said Monday. The tracheotomy tube in the throat of the badly-wounded Arizona congresswoman prevents her from speaking to her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, but the doctors said the smiles were important indicators.

The doctors treating Giffords at University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., said at a press conference they performed surgery Saturday on Giffords' eye socket to remove bone fragments.

"At this time we're hoping to continue typing up loose ends" to get ready for the third stage of Giffords' recovery -- rehabilitation, neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole said.

On Sunday Giffords' condition was upgraded from critical to serious, a day after doctors replaced Giffords' breathing tube with a tracheotomy tube to allow her to breathe better and free her from the ventilator. Kelly said that Giffords is now moving around enough to give him a back rub.

"I keep tellin' her. I'm like, 'Gabby, you're in the ICU. You know, you don't need -- you know, you don't need to be doin' this.' But it's so typical of her that no matter how bad the situation might be for her, you know, she's lookin' out for other people," Kelly told ABC News in an interview set to air Tuesday.

Kelly has been by his wife's side since the shooting on Jan. 8, rushing there from his home in Houston where he currently lives and trains for his role as NASA Astronaut Commander of space shuttle Endeavour's final mission to space this April.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ashes of Castrated Journalist Poured Down NYC Subway Grate

File Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Family members of a Portuguese journalist killed and castrated in a New York City hotel room paid their final respects by dumping his cremated ashes down a Manhattan subway grate.

Following the Sunday funeral for Carlos Castro, 65, who was allegedly murdered and castrated by his 20-year-old boyfriend on Jan. 7, his family took his remains to New York's famed Times Square and dumped his ashes into the subway system at the corner of Broadway and 43rd Street, according to the New York Post.

According to the Post, the family claims they received permission from the city to scatter the ashes, but a spokesman for the mayor's office said that was not true.

Calls to the mayor's office, Department of Health and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which maintains the subway system, were not immediately returned because of the Martin Luther King Holiday.

Castro's boyfriend, Renato Seabra, a male model, was arraigned last week on murder charges and remains in the psychiatric ward of Bellevue Hospital.

According to the criminal complaint, Seabra admitted to choking the journalist and gay rights activist, smashing his head into a television and castrating him with a corkscrew.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Floods Plague Western Washington State

File photo. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FALL CITY, Wash.) -- Residents in the Seattle area are hoping for a break in the weather Monday, as local rivers continue to rise well above flood levels.

Property owners in Fall City, Wash., have watched the Snoqualmie River slowly invade for the past few days. Reaching a level of 59 feet Monday morning, the situation is muddy and dangerous and has some local commuters, like Mitchell Shoenfeld, pulled over to watch.

“It's pretty impressive,” Shoenfeld said. “We've got a current going down that's carrying pretty big logs at about 20 miles an hour.”

More than 20 local roads were closed Monday with two other nearby rivers also approaching major flood levels. Each of the rivers are expected to crest by Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Soldiers Owed Thousands in Back Pay

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Military officials are searching for 35,000 soldiers who are owed an average of $3,800 in bonus pay for time served beyond their original tours.

The Pentagon came under fire for its Stop Loss program, which some said amounted to a back door draft. In response, the military set aside special pay for them -- money they must apply for by March 4th.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police: Serial Rapist Loose in Michigan

Image Courtesy - Detroit Police Department(DETROIT) -- Police in Detroit say a serial rapist is on the loose. The attacks began New Year’s Day and the suspect has struck another seven times since then.

All of the attacks happened at or near bus stops and all the victims are African-American women between the ages of 17 and 33.  The man attacks in the early morning hours and is thought to be driving a dark-colored car, possibly a Grand Am.

The suspect is an African-American with a thin moustache and beard.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee said Monday that forensic evidence will be key in tracking down the right person.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Upgraded from Critical to Serious Condition

Photo Courtesy - Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is no longer listed in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound to the head while attending a public event in Tucson last week.

The Arizona Congresswoman was upgraded to serious condition Sunday after being taken off a ventilator, the University Medical Center in Tucson reported.  The hospital said Giffords is doing well and is breathing on her own.

On Saturday, Giffords underwent a tracheostomy, which removed the breathing tube in her throat and replaced it with a tube in her windpipe.  The procedure allowed her to be taken off a ventilator for the first time since she was shot.

Doctors also inserted a feeding tube on Saturday for nutritional support.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Strict Parenting Style Leads to Death Threats for Amy Chua

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Amy Chua calls herself a "Tiger Mother" because of her strict parenting methods that didn't allow for play dates, sleepovers or choice in extra-curricular activities for her two daughters.

But her essay in the Wall Street Journal has made her one of the most talked-about -- and criticized mothers -- in the blogosphere.

On January 8, the newspaper published excerpts of her book in an article titled Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. The Internet erupted in a firestorm of outrage over the piece, in which she described how she belittled one daughter -- calling her "garbage," and threatened to withhold food and bathroom breaks from the other if the seven-year-old didn't play the piano perfectly.

The outrage is so intense that Chua has even gotten death threats, according to reports.

Speaking with ABC News on Sunday, Chua reiterated that her book was not a how-to guide to parenting, but a memoir on her experience as a parent.

"My book is a memoir, not a parenting book! I think there are many ways to raise great kids," Chua said.

The controversy over Chua's book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, heated up further on Saturday when Ayelet Waldman, a Jewish author and mother, responded with her essay, entitled In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom.

Waldman's essay humorously outlines differences between what she sees as the lackadaisical approach taken by western mothers and the strict regimen Chinese mothers use on their children that Chua discusses.

The first Wall Street Journal piece, which took excerpts from Chua's parenting memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, ignited a heated debate across the Internet, with critics claiming that the book advocates abusive parenting, while others asserted that it would lead to xenophobia and feed China haters.

Aided by the controversy, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reached the number six slot in the Amazon sales rankings on Tuesday, the day it was released.

In her response to Chua's piece, Waldman, author of The Mommy-Track Mysteries series of novels and the wife of best-selling novelist Michael Chabon, jokingly tells of allowing her children to quit the piano and the violin to spare her from attending boring recitals while letting them sleep over at their friend's houses to save money on babysitters. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Elephant That Crushed Woman Handler Gets Reprieve

File photo. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- An African elephant that crushed handler Stephanie James at the Knoxville Zoo will not be punished. Officials at the Knoxville zoo now believe that James' death was an accident.

"The elephants acted as they should in that situation. In other words when they received a command, they responded. She responded in this case," Jim Vina, executive director of the Knoxville Zoo, said.

The 8,000-pound African elephant backed James into a stall on Friday, pushing her into metal bars.

"When something is...up to four tons...and that animal...pushes you against a wall or whatever inside tight quarters, you don't have a chance. It's just that powerful an animal," renowned zookeeper Jack Hanna said.

The 26-year-old elephant, named Edie, was not acting aggressively and followed the desperate commands of another handler to move back, zoo officials said.

When Edie followed the commands to move away from James, it was too late. The 33-year-old James lay crumpled against a stall. Medics rushed her to the hospital where she later died.

For now, zoo officials are keeping the zoo's three elephants away from direct human contact. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Personifies Hope, Equality

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto/MLK, Jr. Nat'l Memorial Project, Gediyon Kifle(WASHINGTON) -- As America celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.'s 82nd birthday Monday, the finishing touches are being put on a memorial to commemorate the man of dreams in Washington, D.C. near where he delivered his most famous speech.

The tribute to Dr. King changes the face of the National Mall. The MLK Memorial is in a direct line between the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and the Jefferson Memorial.

After 25 years of fundraising, planning and organizing, the site is finally nearing completion. Two giant towers of granite representing the "Mountain of Despair" and the "Stone of Hope" stand along the banks of D.C.'s Tidal Basin. Etched in the "Inscription Wall" along the perimeter of the monument are over a dozen quotes from some of King's most memorable speeches.

The public unveiling is scheduled for Aug. 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

With a $120 million price tag, fundraising has been the largest barrier to completion of the memorial, said Dina Curtis, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project. The project still needs to raise $12 million to meet their goal, she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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